7 Ways you should be using cotton balls but aren't

Jan 30, 2015 at 2:04 p.m. ET

I bet you have a plentiful, affordable, basic item just chilling in your bathroom cabinet getting overlooked that could be utilized in a myriad of ways in your beauty routine. That item, ladies and gentlemen, is the cotton ball.

1. Travel tricks

Powder

If you're just going on an overnight trip, or just a night out but carrying a tiny clutch that barely fits your lipstick, apply powder, bronzer and blush to cotton balls, place in a zip top bag and insert into your purse. You'll have one full application of product in a disposable applicator plus save a ton of space.

2. Keep nail polish remover with you, without taking the whole bottle

Travel

Cotton balls also make great single-use applicators for nail polish remover, astringent, bug spray or rubbing alcohol. Saturate the cotton ball and seal tightly in a plastic bag. Just don't combine liquids!

3. Apply blush, bronzer, highlighter, or powder

Blush

Yes, you apply a powder blush with a cotton ball but you can also blend and tone down blush if you got a little overzealous with it.

Bronzer

You can blend out harsh powder contours or apply bronzer in a seamless buffing motion.

Highlighter

Cotton balls are soft and pliable so you can squeeze them to fit the area of your face you desire. Pinch a cotton ball and sweep your powder highlighter on the tops of your cheekbones.

4. Perfume secret

Perfume

To make your lingerie drawer smell heavenly, try spritzing your favorite fragrance onto a cotton ball. It will retain and disperse the scent. You can also try dipping a cotton ball into an essential oil like lavender and tucking it into your pillow case. Sweet dreams!

5. Brush Storage

Brush Storage

Short-handled brushes need love, too! For those shorter brushes, cotton balls can act as a booster seat inside your brush cup. The cotton balls will also catch any makeup debris and keep your brush cup clean. Just make sure to switch them out if they get dirty.

6. Nail polish removal, but not the way you think

Nail polish removal, but not the way you think

You can remove stubborn polish like glitter by pulling a cotton ball apart, soaking it in remover, and wrapping tightly around your fingertips. Wait about 3 minutes and watch as the polish slides right off with the cotton ball.

7. Other sensible storage

Other sensible storage

By storing your eye makeup remover in a jar with cotton balls, everything is neatly in one place, ready for removal. You can also dress up your bathroom vanity by storing your supplies in a mason jar or a colored vase that matches your decor.

More beauty tips

The best way to remove glitter nail polish
DIY nail strengthener
Genius alternative uses for your mascara brush

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